Interview: Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi

What is the potential for enhanced mechanisms to replace natural gas injection?

ABDULLA NASSER AL SUWAIDI: Research studies have demonstrated that carbon dioxide (CO ) enhanced oil recovery (EOR) has the potential to increase recovery from reservoirs. Today, ADNOC, through its operating companies, is evaluating the commercial viability and recovery efficiency of its CO EOR projects, with a goal of achieving 70% recovery. It is clear that high recoveries are not out of reach, as they have been successfully attained with CO EOR elsewhere in the world. Abu Dhabi has the potential to carry on EOR operations due to the large hydrocarbons resource base in the country. It is important to note that giant oil fields are in close proximity to the large industrial CO sources that can contribute to economies of scale. Also, it is anticipated that low-stage-depletion reservoirs may achieve high recoveries if their development is combined with mature CO technology. Hydrocarbon gas can be substituted where it is currently being injected for EOR and pressure maintenance projects in some of the reservoirs. Hydrocarbon gas, lean and enriched, has been injected in Abu Dhabi reservoirs for several years, but in the last decade it has become a valuable commodity in and of itself and has more value if sold as a product.

To what extent can carbon capture and storage technologies be utilised to reduce CO 2 emissions?

AL SUWAIDI: The economic benefits of carbon capture and sequestration, although hard to quantify, may provide both tangible and intangible incentives for capturing and utilising anthropogenic CO . It is the role of scientists and engineers alike to make such projects commercially successful. As a major player in the oil and gas industry, regionally and internationally, ADNOC has been addressing the challenge posed by CO emissions by introducing cleaner energy sources in an attempt to capture and sequester CO produced from various anthropogenic sources.

ADNOC is committed to reducing the carbon footprint of the fossil fuel industry. To support these efforts, ADNOC has taken on responsibility for developing Abu Dhabi’s hydrocarbon resources by maximising their safe and sustainable recovery from reservoirs, taking the initiative to assess the opportunities of CO flooding for EOR, as well as sequestering it in target reservoirs.

To what extent can local research and development (R&D) address the need for EOR methodology specific to Abu Dhabi?

AL SUWAIDI: R&D represents a major part of ADNOC and its associated companies’ operations. Since its establishment in 2000, the Petroleum Institute (PI), one of the ADNOC academic institutions, has been taking a major role in R&D works. Also, the TAKREER Research Centre, which was inaugurated in 2012, is an example of our dedication to R&D. The centre aims to boost the integration of technology and innovation with scientific research mainly for downstream activities and operations. The centre is considered the first applied and utilised facility within the ADNOC group. Another example of the effort being put into research is the Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations’ central lab facility, which was inaugurated in 2010 and is located at the base of our support services firm, Esnaad, in the Musaffah area, where it has been serving ADNOC upstream companies.

Chemicals are used for drilling and production operations and are a vital ingredient in drilling complete wells in optimum time with minimum damage.

The PI is one of the pioneering academic institutions in the emirate, the UAE and region in the field of engineering and petroleum geosciences studies and has been conducting further R&D. Along with government entities such as the Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, ADNOC cooperates on issues related to the environment, cleaner energy and renewable power sources.